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Star Wars: The Real-Life Meaning Behind Ahsoka's Name Is Perfect

Contains spoilers for "Ahsoka" Season 1

As "Ahsoka" reveals what the Jedi outcast has been up to since we last saw her in "The Mandalorian" Season 2, the show unfolds as a pretty direct sequel to "Star Wars Rebels," bringing in old fan-favorites from Hera Syndulla (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Sabine Wren (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) to Huyang (David Tennant) and the surprisingly lethal astromech Chopper. With her self-titled series going strong on Disney+, Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) is the "Star Wars" name on everyone's lips ... but did you know that said name carries a cool hidden meaning that describes the character surprisingly well? 

The name Ahsoka, as Impeccable Nest Design points out, comes from "Ashoka," which is Sanskrit. The word itself can be translated as "without sorrow," which ... doesn't necessarily describe Ahsoka all that well, given the wringer she's been put through over her years as a Padawan, Jedi, and an outcast. However, as a name, Ashoka has a real-world connection that fits Ahsoka very well. Per National Geographic, the historical Ashoka was an Indian king who lived in the 3rd century B.C. He started out as a powerful and brutal conqueror type, but eventually realized how much suffering his wars and assorted cruelties brought to people. In an attempt to mitigate the world's pain, he turned to Buddhism and put a huge amount of effort into promoting peace, tolerance, and welfare.

King Ashoka's life as a war leader who became a patron of peace isn't all that far removed from the Jedi Order's dual roles as army generals and monk-style peacekeepers — and since Ahsoka has left the order behind and become an outcast who focuses her full attention on protecting the galaxy against oppressors, she fits the bill better than most. 

Ahsoka wasn't the character's first name

The untold truth of Ahsoka is that her original name, Ashla, was George Lucas' name for the light side of the Force in the first two drafts of the original "Star Wars" movie (via Time). After the name was reassigned to a character concept that eventually became everyone's favorite Togruta, it was eventually dropped in favor of Ashoka. 

"Star Wars: Clone Wars" writer Henry Gilroy has confirmed that the change was directly inspired by the historical ruler and that he's the one who ultimately came up with Ahsoka's final name. "When we met with George to discuss the ["Star Wars: Clone Wars" series] bible he changed Anakin's Padawan from 'Ashla' to 'Ashoka', after the Indian Emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. I later tweaked it to Ahsoka to make her unique," Gilroy tweeted in 2018.

In a franchise that's fond of naming a money-hungry bounty hunter "Greedo" and a cruel villain "Savage Opress," Ahsoka's name is a refreshing change with a neat real-world story behind it — not to mention some real meaning.